Since Mappy likes posting essays on F1 races and I like doing mini-essays on cricket and AFL, thought it'd be better to have them all in the one place.
And now for an Easter wrapup.
Crows silence the critics, Victoria's great hope humbled
Crows 15.20 110 def Western Bulldogs 12.6 78
Best - McLeod, Edwards, Bassett, Welsh, Bock, Hudson
Major goalscorers - Welsh 4, Bock 4
With doom and gloom predicted for the Crows, they went deep into the old enemy's territory undermanned, heavy underdogs and facing one of their most bitter rivals - one think the Bulldogs will never forgive Adelaide for the humiliaition they inflicted on them in the 1997 and 1998 prelim finals. Based on the efforts versus Essendon, it seemed highly unlikely that the Crows would be able to even provide stiff resistance.
But if there is one thing Neil Craig has been able to bring to this side ever since he took the helm, he can take charge of this side and make them believe in themselves. From the moment the ball bounced, it was clear Adelaide had come to play and this time, it was the Bulldogs who were unsuspecting. Gritty defense clogging up all major avenues into the Bulldogs 50 and picking off nearly every entry led to the more fancied Bulldogs growing ever more frustrated while the Crows played the way we know they can - numbers at the back, run off half-back, play on at all costs, clear up that forward line. But most importantly, win the stoppages and never stop chasing. The normally cocky and fluent Bulldogs soon caved in and let constant errors ruin their game while Adelaide chugged along and gradually put the game in the bag.
Tyson Edwards - Never ceases to amaze. Why he never gets a major tagger or the true plaudits from the critics that he deserves is beyond me. Versus one of the most lethal midfields in the league, Edwards stormed into the wars, plucked that ball and found ope players with ease, over and over. Tyson Edwards rarely makes mistakes and he didn't make a single one in this game. Created endless opportunities and destroyed the Bulldogs by half-time.
Andrew McLeod - Okay, Macca can be a bit of a mug at times. But when Macca gets into overdrive, the opposition is screwed. The back line, away from the niggle of taggers, is where Andy plays his better footy and he belongs there. If he can deliver these kind of performances more often, like we know he can, the Crows will be in for a good year.
Scott Welsh - When Welsh plays well, the Crows play well. Open space, strong leads and out-jousting his opponent in the 1v1 contests. If Welsh gets space and 2 seconds to run, that ball is his and you're given one of the most reliable kicks in the game. Ruled the 40 metre zone along with Bock.
Ben Hudson - As far as Adelaide's ruckmen go this year, he is it. When he blew his knee in 2005 he was gunning for most improved player in the league. He's picked up where he left off. Taps went straight to the target at the stoppages and the Crows were away. If he stays healthy, the Crows will dominate the stoppages and blast away from the contested ball.
Western Bulldogs - So much for equal favourite premiership chances. If constant pressure and fluent play-on footy with numbers behind the ball is all you need to rattle this mob, then they're still a way to winning the flag. This side lives and dies by its midfield. West, Cooney, Johnson, Akermanis - usually lethal, were contained and humbled. They never got going and weren't properly accountable for their opponents. Their defense eventually caved in to constant pressure. Their forwards spilled easy marks from constant pressure. Cooler heads need to prevail for the Bulldogs to seriously challenge in 2007.
Jason Akermanis - After a promising start at his new club, his legs gave way and he will be missing for at least a month. Will the gamble pay off on him? He tried to spark the side midway through the piece but even his usual swagger was erased.
Graham Johncock - A stalwart in defense for many years. An awkward tackle twisting both his ankles may cause him to miss the Showdown. Another player on the sidelines is not what the Crows need with 7 first-choice players already MIA.
The umpires - Look, for the love of....BE CONSISTENT! They're haphazard with holding the ball, their holding calls vary from ridiculously soft to utterly blind. If you're going to call a situation, as long as you're consistent, that's enough. But if you change your mind every 5 minutes, how the hell are we supposed to know what's right and wrong?!
Next 4 games - Port Adelaide @ AS, Sydney @ AS, Fremantle @ S, Collingwood @ AS. After Round 1, an 0-5 was looking on the cards. After Round 2, suddenly all 4 of those games look winnable. If the Crows don't mess around, play it on, open up that blutig forward line, the results will come. With big names ready to come back by the end of April, what looked like a very harsh month is looking far more optimistic. A lot of critics will be eating their words over both sides. Don't write the Crows off just yet.
I'll leave the F1 essay to Mappy, but will make a few quick comments.
Alonso - 10/10. Did everything he needed to do from the very start and was never in doubt.
Hamilton - 9/10. For a rookie he is just amazing. Put Ferrari to shame on Lap 1 and held his nerve versus a fast-finishing Raikkonen.
Raikkonen - 8/10. Blew Lap 1 but was good from then on. If he can remain consistent and Ferrari provides a competent package, he will be there at the business end.
Massa - 4/10. Once again, he blows it. He lets Hamilton past then catches him but makes an absolute meal of the pass and drops 2 places instead and never gets them back. Someone needs to drill some calm and common sense into this guy, especially since Hamilton is outdriving him.